Tag Archives: democratic party

Campaign 2016: America passes into new hands

Summary: Campaign 2016 has achieved what many thought impossible, unifying America’s ruling class — behind Hillary Clinton. If Clinton manages this skillfully, it will mark the end of political polarization among our elites and begin a new era of bipartisanship (while America’s citizens remain weak and fragmented). The effects could be huge. She and the Democrats will owe it all to Trump.

Hands holding America

This election has become a carnival sideshow, behind our rulers are arranging a new government for America. There is no screen concealing these things. We just prefer to watch the entertaining follies up front, while our rulers take of business on the back of the stage.

There are three hundred thousand entries on Google for “political polarization”, mostly whining about its awfulness and pining for the bipartisanship of the days of yore. Worry no more! America’s ruling class has unified behind Hillary Clinton. Now she has to just build it into an enduring coalition, as FDR did.

Clinton’s coalition is a broad one, built by betraying some the Left’s core beliefs (just as the GOP came to power in 1964-1982 by adding racism to its platform). Bold foreign wars and aggressive domestic surveillance won support of the neocons and military-industrial-complex. Goldman, as usual, got in early and built Clinton’s support from Wall Street. The coy Clinton-Kaine will-they-won’t-they act prepares for their eventual support of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (hence her support by big business).

Slowly people are seeing the truth. Such as Aran Gupta at CounterPunch

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Why the Left will divorce Hillary and the new Democratic Party

Summary: Campaign 2016 is weird almost beyond belief. The oddness of the Republican-Right side has been much discussed, but less so the weirdness of the Democrat-Left. Their Party is not what it once was, and their members are not happy about the change. 2016 might spark a divorce.

Ready for Hillary

The Democratic Party is not what it was

Quietly, with little notice, the Democratic Party has evolved into something quite different than the party that brought the New Deal, the Civil Rights Movement, and so many of the Boomers’ formative events in the 1960s and 1970s.

The Left of the Berkeley Free Speech Movement (including the right to say “F***) has become the 21st Century Orwellian speech movement, inventing new prohibitions, mandating new forms of address, and declaring what can and cannot be said. For example, see “Bias Response Teams” by Robby Soave at the Daily Beast — “On a College Campus? Don’t Try to Tell a Joke”. Also see this amazing analysis by Eugene Volokh (Prof Law, UCLA) at WaPo: “You can be fined for not calling people ‘ze’ or ‘hir,’ if that’s the pronoun they demand that you use” — Excerpt…

“The NYCHRL [New York City Human Rights Law] requires employers[, landlords, and all businesses and professionals] to use an [employee’s, tenant’s, customer’s, or client’s] preferred name, pronoun and title (e.g., Ms./Mrs.) regardless of the individual’s sex assigned at birth, anatomy, gender, medical history, appearance, or the sex indicated on the individual’s identification.”

The anti-war party of 1965-1975 has become dominated by warmongers, advocating wars under our Responsibility to Protect women, children, and minorities. We destroy a secular regime in Afghanistan (& its women’s rights), then we wage war on the new regime to restore women’s rights (see more here and here). Our top warmongers flock to Hillary Clinton’s banner, ready to push America into new wars (Africom’s expansion lays the foundation for another decade or two of war).

The Democratic Party instituted broad and deep regulations of corporations from 1930 to 1976, culminating in the 1970’s Left that flirted with socialism. Now they align behind the wife of Bill the bank deregulator, recipient of massive financial support from Wall Street — in exchange for favors to be provided later. “Why Hillary Clinton’s 90s nostalgia is so dangerous” by Thomas Frank, op-ed in The Guardian — “To put the arch-deregulator in charge of an economy wrecked by financial bubbles is sheer folly.”

Since the 1930s the Democratic Party advocated stimulative economic policies to maintain full employment and raise household incomes. Now they do so only as a last resort, during recessions. Doug Henwood at Jacobin says it well in “Doom and Gloom Democrats” — “Democratic strategists are determined to discredit ambitious social agendas.” (Doug Henwood edits Left Business Observer and is the host of Behind the News. His new book is My Turn: Hillary Clinton Targets the Presidency.)

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American politics isn’t broken. It’s working just fine for the 1%.

Summary: Political commentary often reveals more from its blindness than its insights. For example, a widely-cited analysis at Salon by journalist Andrew O’Hehir tells us some entertaining harsh truths — but avoids deeper, useful insights that would disturb his Outer Party readers (i.e., politically passive managers and professionals).

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton

Photo by Dennis Van Tine/STAR MAX/IPx on 13 April 2016.

Two despised frontrunners, two dying parties & a deeply broken system
By Andrew O’Hehir (journalist) at Salon.

“How did we get here? Trump & Clinton may be the most hated frontrunners in history, dueling symbols of a duopoly in decay.”

He opens with some myth-making, the Left’s efforts to fit events into their standard narrative. It conceals the important dynamics of campaign 2016, things too disturbing for the Left to see.

So here’s what’s happening: Our political system is profoundly broken, and although many of us have understood that for years, this has been the year that fact became unavoidable. Both political parties are struggling through transparently rigged primary campaigns that have made that ludicrous process look more outdated than ever. Nobody cares about the Democratic vote in Wyoming and it’s not going to matter, but when Bernie Sanders dominates the caucuses in that empty, dusty and Republican-dominated state and wins seven of its 18 delegates, doesn’t that sum up the whole damn thing?

O’Hehir is making a purely emotional appeal in defiance of the facts. He gives no evidence that the GOP race is rigged; Trump’s votes have closely mirrored his poll results. As for the Democrats, several political scientists have shown that the results are not “rigged”. NY Times political blogger Nate Cohen has a model showing that “9 percentage points better in primaries than in caucuses“. More seriously, Alan I. Abramowitz (Prof of political science at Emory) has a model of the 2016 Democratic primaries

“This model uses three predictors from the Democratic primary exit polls — percentage of African-American voters, percentage of self-identified Democrats, and region — and it explains 90% of the variance in 19 primaries to date for which exit poll data are available, excluding Sanders’ home state of Vermont…”

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How the Democrats became Liberals for the Rich

Summary: The insurgencies on the Left and Right against their parties’ elites by populists and progressives has been much discussed but little analyzed. Previous posts discussed how the Republican Party abandoned America’s workers. Here Thomas Frank, one of the most insightful observers of the Left, explains how the Democratic Party abandoned the progressive movement and America’s workers. The revolutions in both parties will not end in November, no matter what the outcome.

Boston skyline

The Blue State Model:
How the Democrats Created a Liberalism of the Rich

by Thomas Frank
From TomDispatch, 29 March 2016. Reposted with permission

Introduction by Tom Engelhardt

Listen, Liberal: Or, What Ever Happened to the Party of the People? is, in a sense, a history of how, from the Clintonesque 1990s on, the Democratic Party managed to ditch the working class (hello, Donald Trump!) and its New Deal tradition, throw its support behind a rising “professional” and technocratic class, and go gaga over Wall Street and those billionaires to come. In the process, its leaders fell in love with Goldman Sachs and every miserable trade pact that hit town, led the way in deregulating the financial system, and helped launch what Frank terms “the greatest wave of insider looting ever seen”; the party, that is, went Silicon Valley and left Flint, Michigan, to the Republicans.

Only a few years after Bill Clinton vacated the Oval Office the financial system he and his team had played such a role in deregulating had to be rescued, lock, stock, and barrel from ultimate collapse. Quite a record all in all.

Put another way, as Frank makes clear, in these years the Democrats (with obvious exceptions) became a more or less traditional Republican party. And if the Democrats are now the party of inequality, then what in the world are the Republicans? Don’t even get me started on the cliff that crew walked off of.

In the following post, adapted from his new book, Frank does a typically brainy thing. Since we’ve all heard for years about how the Democrats have been stopped from truly pursuing their political program by Republican experts in political paralysis, he turns to a rare set of places where, in fact, the Republicans were incapable of getting in the way and… well, let him tell the story.

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Populism carries Trump to the nomination. He’s completed 1 of 4 steps to victory.

Summary: With Trump leading in polls for most of the coming primaries, let’s review his success in the four keys to winning in November. Equally important is the reaction of Democrats to his success, and what it tells us about the potential for a new broad coalition (like the New Deal) that can defeat the 1%.

The New Deal is as dead as FDR. But a new coalition can be built for the 21st C.

New Deal Button

On January 7 I listed four keys to a possible Trump victory.

  1. Build political organization that gets votes — Done.
  2. Craft a message that appeals to majority of Americans.
  3. Strike a deal with America’s ruling elites. Now they see Trump as a disruptor of a political game that they own. But Trump is both one of them (2nd generation) and a consummate deal-maker (his big book is The Art of the Deal). The necessary alliances will come easily if he wins the nomination.
  4. Luck, such as a recession in mid-year, which could easily happen.

Trump has completed the first task (as I expected). Now he’s working on the second, to more effectively tap the resurgent populism that catapulted him to the top of the GOP.

CNN says that “Trump has hammered Wall Street in recent speeches, wants to raise taxes on the rich and has embraced policies that will hurt many multinational companies.” Michael Tesler (Asst professor of political science, UC Irvine) describes the results as showing “economically progressive positions, combined with Trump’s harsh rhetoric about minority groups, seem to have created a powerful populist coalition that has made Trump the front-runner…”

Polls show the result: broad appeal among Republicans and independents. Even the good liberals at Slate have noticed (“Think Hillary Clinton Will Crush Donald Trump in the General Election? Don’t Be So Sure“). RAND’s Presidential Election Panel Survey (PEPS) shows his success. Slowly our political gurus see this. Bernie Becker in Politico writes about “Trump’s 6 populist positions“. Even more insightful is Jonathon Chait in NY Magazine

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